To write strong, user-orientated copy, it’s important that you first understand the user. While you may think the user will want to read every word you have to say, the truth is this: they will only extract what’s relevant to them. We’re selfish, busy creatures after all.
With that in mind, let’s dive into the best ways to make your copy more readable so you can get your brand’s message across with meaning and effectiveness.
An understanding of the user, as we said, is crucial. So what does the typical user look like?
- They’re likely to read about 28% of the words on your page.
- You have about eight seconds before the user either chooses to stay on the page, or hits the back button.
- They respond well to scannable content, in bullet points, with clear takeaways.
If you don’t write like this, opting for a Great-Wall-of-China-sized wall of text instead, your page visits will take a hit.
But there’s an easy fix; a few key practices to keep front of mind whenever you’re producing content.
Break It Up With Bullet Points
Bullet points do a great job of breaking up any piece of text. If your content is looking particularly blockish, bullet points are versatile in that they can be applied to nearly any information. Look for anything that can be broken into:
- List format
- Separate ideas
- Core features (e.g. if you are writing about a product or service)
- Pieces of information in the form of punchy one-liners
Bullet points punctuate the overall form of a piece, but they’ve got to be used judiciously. Overuse of bullet points (or excessively long lists in point form) run the same risk as too much text: it becomes monotonous, and the user struggles to distinguish the high-order information from the supporting points.
Bullet points draw the user’s eye to key, digestible information-bites that the brain can easily recall. It helps the user not only read but retain your content, which is great for brand awareness.
Lead the User on With Breadcrumbs
By slowly guiding the reader, you can hold their hand and take them step by step through the densest of topics: it’s all about the way you present whatever it is you’re saying.
Write in an F-Shaped Formation
Did you know:
The reader scans…
In a reverse F-shaped formation?
Start your content off with a punchy header to grab the user’s attention.
And then, elaborate a little. Feed them new pieces of information, bit by bit.
Bucket brigades are another device you can use to string the user along.
They do one thing:
They keep the user moving to the next line, and then the next.
How do you do this?
Hit the enter button after you’ve:
- Asked a rhetorical question
- Used a phrase like, “they do one thing” and the user wants to know what that “one thing” is
- Used a phrase to imply “but wait, there’s more”. Keep adding value to the page, and position yourself as a goldmine of informational nuggets
This technique actually takes advantage of a brain phenomenon. When the mind is made aware of a rhetorical question that it doesn’t have the answer to, it naturally seeks out the information to fill the gap left by that question mark.
With simple phrasing like the above, you can convince the user’s subconscious that the following line is of crucial importance. Not only does this keep the user on the page for longer – it makes the reader (and Google) feel that your page is adding value. This can boost your rankings.
[Conclusion]: Need help writing sharp, user-focused copy? We’d love to chat about the ways we can help you grow through a solid content strategy. Give us a call today, and let’s discuss the possibilities.
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